Scarlett Johansson attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2020 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 9, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
David Crotty | Patrick McMullan | Getty Images
On Friday “Black Widow” force agent Scarlett Johansson beat Walt Disney for accusing the actor of “callous neglect” for the dangers of Covid-19 to the film’s audience.
Bryan Lourd, who is co-president of the talent agency giant CAA, also suggested that Disney didn’t play well publicly by revealing Johansson’s $ 20 million salary for the Marvel Entertainment film. This figure had not previously been shared publicly.
Lourd said Disney’s response to Johansson’s lawsuit was “an attempt to make it appear that she was someone and that she is not.”
Disney’s comment came hours after the “Black Widow” star filed a lawsuit against the company Thursday, claiming she had violated her contract when she released the film on her Disney + streaming service at the the same time he debuted in theaters.
“There’s no merit to this presentation,” Disney said. “The cause is particularly sad and distressed in its callous contempt for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Johansson, like many Marvel veterans, including Robert Downey Jr., has negotiated to have a percentage of box office income attached to his salary. This has become more and more common with Marvel Cinematic Universe movies because of their theatrical history.
The Oscar-nominated actress was played by Natasha Romanoff in eight Marvel films, which in the last decade have grossed more than $ 10.5 billion in worldwide box office revenue.
Only eight of Marvel’s 24 movie releases have grossed less than $ 700 million worldwide. And only three have secured less than $ 400 million. On average, these franchised films grossed nearly $ 1 billion worldwide during their theatrical career.
So far, “Black Widow” has grossed $ 150 million during its first three weeks in theaters and just over $ 300 million worldwide. Its $ 80 million domestic opening weekend remains the highest opening figure of any film released after March 2020, when several Covid pandemic restrictions hit.
The streaming release of the film ate box office profits, though Disney said “Black Widow” earned $ 60 million from sales at Disney + during its opening weekend. The company has not shared any additional information on the digital performance of the film. Entertainment experts have also accused the film’s rampant piracy of its steady drop in performance since its release.
While Disney’s decision to put “Black Widow” on Disney + and in theaters on the same day and date was a strategic move based on pandemic pressures, it is projected to have cost Johansson more than $ 50 million, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Johansson’s case claims that the actress tried to renegotiate with Disney after discovering that the film would not be released only in theaters, but the studio did not respond.
Disney representatives did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.